How Birth Moms Can Cope with Baby Showers
Attending a baby shower can be a painful reminder of a major loss in your life if you happen to be a birth mother. Unfortunately, the mirth that surrounds a new little life is difficult to avoid forever. You will eventually be invited to attend another baby shower that may leave you feeling heartbroken and sick with grief. When the baby shower is meant to honor a close friend or family member, how can you cope with your own feelings of loss?
As time passes, you might find that it becomes easier to attend events like these without the heartbreaking sadness that you feel right now. However, there are a few things you can do to combat this grief and still celebrate alongside your loved ones. Check out a few of these ideas for how birth mothers can cope with attending baby showers.
Offer to help out with the shower.
The first thing you can do to alleviate some of your own sadness is to offer to help out with the baby shower itself. Ask if you can be in charge of decorations, food, or party games. The more responsibility that you take on during the party, the less time you will have to focus on your own feelings about your child. Keeping yourself occupied is an excellent way to still attend the festivities without spending the entire time reminiscing on your own heartbreak and sense of loss.
Avoid shopping for baby products.
When you attend a friend’s baby shower, it is generally expected that you will bring a gift to welcome the new little one into the world. Shopping for baby products can be very triggering for birth mothers, prompting them to fall headfirst back into their sadness. Instead of bringing a gift for the baby, consider purchasing a gift for the mother-to-be instead. You might want to bring her a fluffy new bathrobe, some bath salts, or a special basket filled with pampering items. Alternatively, you could also purchase a gift card to a big box store to allow the mother to do her own shopping for baby items.
Remember that you are there to support a friend.
In the midst of your own sadness, it can be very easy to lose sight of the real reason why you are gathered together for a party. Continuously find ways to remind yourself that you are there to support a friend or a family member with their own pregnancy. Remember all of the good times that you had with this person, taking time to reflect on what kind of parent they will be in the months to come. Your support and encouragement will mean the world to the mother-to-be at the baby shower.
Seek out professional help to assist you with your grief.
Many birth mothers find that they have a difficult time coping with their grief over losing a child on their own. Baby showers can be a painful reminder of all the ways that they are still holding onto the loss of their own child. If many months have passed but you still find yourself avoiding fun activities like baby showers, you might want to consider seeking out professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in grief or adoption issues.
They can give you the space that you need to process through your feelings in a healthy way. Once you are better equipped to handle your own emotions surrounding the loss of your child, you may be better able to handle the idea of attending a baby shower for your loved ones. It will no longer be as painful to remember the loss you experienced when you are celebrating the arrival of new life for a loved one.
Share things you learned throughout your own pregnancy.
First-time mothers often don’t know what to expect when it comes to pregnancy or childbirth. Don’t be afraid to share some of your personal experiences with the new mom, even though your story may be drastically different from hers. Compare pregnancy cravings, how old the baby was when you felt the first kick, and even what music you listened to in the delivery room. The conversation possibilities are nearly endless when you have one of these simple conversations with a new mother.
Sharing your own experiences about pregnancy with someone else can be a great way to focus on the positive aspects of your childbirth instead of dwelling on your grief. As an added bonus, the new mother is sure to appreciate the advice and the camaraderie that comes from sharing these intimate details about your life. It is an excellent way to continue to forge deeper friendships and to move past some of your overwhelming sadness.
Remember that it’s okay to decline an invitation.
If you feel like none of the above suggestions is going to help ease your discomfort, remember that it’s alright to decline an invitation. This might be necessary for your own healing, particularly if you are close to giving birth or just recently lost your child to adoption. Your friends and family members will understand that things might be too painful for you to celebrate with them at this exact moment.
Instead of attending the baby shower personally, consider sending a card and a small gift to let your loved one know that you are thinking about them. A heartfelt card expressing your regrets about not being there or offering encouragement to the mother-to-be can be an extremely thoughtful touch that alleviates your guilt and shame over not being in attendance.
Remember that attending a baby shower is all about letting your close friend or family member know that you love them and support their decision to raise their child. Take a few steps to help you cope with your own grief and make these pleasant events more manageable for you. Over time, you may even find that you can enjoy the festivities at these celebratory occasions once again.